John Whitehead's Commentary
Don’t Trust the Government with Your Privacy, Property or Your Freedoms
How do you trust a government that continuously sidesteps the Constitution and undermines our rights? You can’t.
When you consider all the ways “we the people” are being bullied, beaten, bamboozled, targeted, tracked, repressed, robbed, impoverished, imprisoned and killed by the government, one can only conclude that you shouldn’t trust the government with your privacy, your property, your life, or your freedoms.
Consider for yourself.
Don’t trust the government with your privacy, digital or otherwise. In the two decades since 9/11, the military-security industrial complex has operated under a permanent state of emergency that, in turn, has given rise to a digital prison that grows more confining and inescapable by the day. Wall-to wall surveillance, monitored by AI software and fed to a growing network of fusion centers, render the twin concepts of privacy and anonymity almost void. By conspiring with corporations, the Department of Homeland Security “fueled a massive influx of money into surveillance and policing in our cities, under a banner of emergency response and counterterrorism.” For instance, all across the country, police are installing Flock Safety license plate readers as part of a public-private partnership program between police and the surveillance industry. These cameras, which upload data in real time to fusion crime centers, signal a turning point in the transition from a police state to a police-driven surveillance state.
Don’t trust the government with your property. In yet another effort to legitimize warrantless searches, police are employing “hit-and-hold” tactics in which police enter a home, carry out an initial sweep of the property, handcuff the occupants, then wait for official search warrants to be secured and applied retroactively. In the meantime, police have managed to bypass the Fourth Amendment. The rationale, to prevent possible destruction of evidence, is the same one used to deadly effect with no-knock raids. If government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family, your property is no longer private and secure—it belongs to the government. Hard-working Americans are having their bank accounts, homes, cars electronics and cash seized by police under the assumption that they have allegedly been associated with some criminal scheme.
Don’t trust the government with your finances. The U.S. government—and that includes the current administration—is spending money it doesn’t have on programs it can’t afford, and “we the taxpayers” are being forced to foot the bill for the government’s fiscal insanity. The national debt is $31.3 trillion and growing, and we’re paying more than $300 billion in interest every year on that public debt, yet there seems to be no end in sight when it comes to the government’s fiscal insanity. According to Forbes, Congress has raised, extended or revised the definition of the debt limit 78 times since 1960 in order to allow the government to essentially fund its existence with a credit card.
Don’t trust the government with your health. For all intents and purposes, “we the people” have become lab rats in the government’s secret experiments, which include MKULTRA and the U.S. military’s secret race-based testing of mustard gas on more than 60,000 enlisted men. Indeed, you don’t have to dig very deep or go very back in the nation’s history to uncover numerous cases in which the government deliberately conducted secret experiments on an unsuspecting populace—citizens and noncitizens alike—making healthy people sick by spraying them with chemicals, injecting them with infectious diseases and exposing them to airborne toxins. Unfortunately, the public has become so easily distracted by the political spectacle out of Washington, DC, that they are altogether oblivious to the grisly experiments, barbaric behavior and inhumane conditions that have become synonymous with the U.S. government, which has meted out untold horrors against humans and animals alike.
Don’t trust the government with your life: At a time when growing numbers of unarmed people have been shot and killed for just standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety, even the most benign encounters with police can have fatal consequences. The number of Americans killed by police continues to grow, with the majority of those killed as a result of police encounters having been suspected of a non-violent offense or no crime at all, or during a traffic violation. According a report by Mapping Police Violence, police killed more people in 2022 than any other year within the past decade. In 98% of those killings, police were not charged with a crime.
Don’t trust the government with your freedoms. For years now, the government has been playing a cat-and-mouse game with the American people, letting us enjoy just enough freedom to think we are free but not enough to actually allow us to live as a free people. Freedom no longer means what it once did. This holds true whether you’re talking about the right to criticize the government in word or deed, the right to be free from government surveillance, the right to not have your person or your property subjected to warrantless searches by government agents, the right to due process, the right to be safe from militarized police invading your home, the right to be innocent until proven guilty and every other right that once reinforced the founders’ belief that this would be “a government of the people, by the people and for the people.” On paper, we may be technically free, but in reality, we are only as free as a government official may allow.
Whatever else it may be—a danger, a menace, a threat—the U.S. government is certainly not looking out for our best interests, nor is it in any way a friend to freedom.
Remember the purpose of a good government is to protect the lives and liberties of its people.
Unfortunately, what we have been saddled with is, in almost every regard, the exact opposite of an institution dedicated to protecting the lives and liberties of its people.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, “we the people” should have learned early on that a government that repeatedly lies, cheats, steals, spies, kills, maims, enslaves, breaks the laws, overreaches its authority, and abuses its power at almost every turn can’t be trusted.